MAYDAY: Larry Lessig launches a Superpac to get money out of US politics


#1

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#2

This seems a bit like boinking for virginity, but what the hell. I'm in for $20 plus $1 for Cory.


#3

OK, Cory:

PAYMENT: #1399
Date: May 1, 2014
Payment Status: Preapproved
Subtotal $100.00
Total Price: $100.00
Payment Method: Credit Card

I've been following Lessig for quite a while and waiting for this announcement.


#4

I wonder if this is really going after ALL big money. It is fine to vilify the Koch brothers, but you also have to include people like Soros and Bloomberg in that picture. If it is bad for big-money republicans to throw money around, then it should also be equally bad for big-money democrats.

I also wonder about intended limits on unions. When the Koch brothers spend money, they are spending their own money. When a union spends money, it is spending the money of its members. In most states, if you want the job, you HAVE to join the union. Since 47% of the population voted for Romney in the last election, I doubt that 100% of the union members would agree completely how their own money is spent on elections.


#5

Wait - there's a Boinking for Virginity charity I could be donating my time and money to instead?

(and I gave my $50.)


#6

When the godzillas are under control, there is less need for giant manga robots, and cool though they may be, they can be safely decommissioned.


#7

Well, I don't think I can donate, but I would be willing to volunteer...

My big question to Lessig is this: How are you going to hold these candidates to their word once they get into office. More importantly: how are you going to get the majorities needed to enact actual change. Convincing 10 House Reps (especially Dems) to go along with this is easy, but also useless. 5 million dollars is not a large amount of money in a modern election. It's not a drop in the bucket either, but he's asking people to forsake interests that promise to spend 100x as much on them for this donation.


#8

Yes, I'll give you that it needs to be applied to both sides of the political spectrum. However, I don't think Lessig is arguing that this is about Republican donors or partisan in any way, shape or form...

Negative points, however, for throwing in the union straw man. There are plenty of corporations that make political donations one way or the other whose workforce is not unionized. I don't see the C-suites of those corporations holding a worker vote on who the company should be putting in the "pay to the order of" line on the contribution checks...


#9

"If it is bad for big-money republicans to throw money around, then it should also be equally bad for big-money democrats."

What's bad is for big-money donors to fund politicians who (and policies that) will further the big-money donors becoming bigger-money donors at the expense of little-money people. When big-money donors put money into causes that counteract that kind of concentration of wealth--such as politicians who are interested in progressive tax reforms or campaign-finance reform--they're helping to level the playing field.

To put this another way, at the moment, politicians listen almost exclusively to rich people. If you have one group of rich people who say "Continue listening only to us!" and another group of rich people who say "Listen to other people as well as us!," one of those groups is furthering the goal of limiting the influence of money in politics. And while it's true that both groups are using the same means, the outcome will presumably be better for non-rich people if the second group is heard than if the first group is heard.


#10

I wonder if Colbert has any of that SuperPAC money around still...and if he does, would there be any way to legally transfer it to this effort? (If I recall correctly, the answer is that yes, he'd have full authority to donate it wherever, at least according to his extended performance piece on SuperPACs.)

This would seem like the perfect place for that money to end up, seeing as it would be doing what most people who donated to the Colbert SuperPAC wanted to do, anyway.


#11

This represents a naive view of politics and political contributions. The simple part is that people, groups and corporations contribute to politicians (in most cases) because there is an advantage in doing so. There are sound economic reasons for doing this. The Federal Government controlled the spending of $3.7 Trillion last year. Through regulation and laws the federal government affected the creation, flow and expenditure of many trillions more dollars. All this "power" is concentrated in the hands of 535 Members of Congress (as well as a few thousand congressional staff), one President (as well as a few hundred White House staff) and a few hundred Federal Judges (as well as a thousand or so clerks).

The simple laws of economics dictate that these entities will get attention from the economy. In a sense, the political market is pricing the "fair value" of these positions far more accurately than their federal salaries price the "value" (impact might be a better word) in the economy at large. No law will change this as you cannot repeal the laws of economics. History has consigned a multitude of once great nations to the trash heap who thought they had transcended the laws of economics. There is no such thing. Pol Pot probably came the closest in creating a society transcending economics but the results were rather unpleasant.

If the goal is to reduce political spending, one must reduce the value of the politicians. To reduce the power of the politicians, one must reduce to power and scope of the federal government. No one would care to spend a billion dollars on a Presidential campaign or $40 Million on a Senate campaign if the federal government had less power to affect their lives, business or goals. Reduce the power of government and the political market will price these offices appropriately and campaign contributions will drop.

The failure of "political reformists" to recognize the problem is that government is too powerful and that the desire to influence this disproportionate power in society is why smart people contribute to politicians is testimony to reformists continued naiveté.

The advocacy of campaign finance reform by entrenched politicians who want the power of office without the hassle of well funded challengers represents the corruption of those "pretend reform" politicians as they are quite content to pretend to be angels in the view of the public and petty princes in private.

Anything less than reducing the scope of the all powerful, all encroaching, all taxing, all regulating, all spying, leviathan state is a childlike waste if time. Lawrence Lessig's proposal, no matter how well meaning, is no different.


#12

http://www.rootstrikers.org/


#13

In the past Lessig has stated that while he personally identifies with the political left in US he sees big money as drowning all normal citizens and .01%er "free speech" money from both left and right as disenfranchising the 99.99%ers.


#14

Here's $20 for this childlike waste of time. If Cory and L.L. think its a good start then that's good enough for me.

#1830
Date: May 1, 2014
Subtotal $20.00


#15

Looks like it is catching on - still on the first day (31 to go), and it's at 6% already ($59,462.00)...


#16

I'm completely opposed to any campaign finance reform plans which fail to recognize the enormous non-dollar advantage held by incumbents, and which make no effort to level the playing field for the challenger.


#17

It seems that US citizens have more than one such initiative lately. Wolf PAC (http://www.wolf-pac.com) also wants to get the money out of politics, via amendment to US constitution (and they claim to have some success on local level.) Just letting you know.

PS. Not really my business, since I am a foreigner (and do not live on US soil) and shall not interfere with US internal matter, but I do watch TheYoungTurks on youtube and they mention about it sometime; I thought you may want to know about them too.


#18

So, basically we should cut out the middlemen and just let the wealthy oppress everyone directly, without having to go through the annoying and expensive process of first buying the political system. Sounds like a great idea that could not possibly go wrong.


#19

Kickstarters generally go pretty slow in the middle of their funding. If you have some news coverage there is usually a spike at the beginning, then a big long slow period, then a final ramp right at the end. I would like to see them at least 1/3 of the way to their goal by the midpoint of this campaign, less than that and I doubt they will be successful.

The starting bump won't be over for another day or two, so there is still time, but it's not looking promising thus far.


#20

Tell you what, if you throw in an extra buck for me, I'll add an extra hundred pounds to the UK equivalent when and if it launches.

So @doctorow, you're offering a 100:1 matching donation? You're a good man! It looks like you're on the hook for £10,100, from the comments above so far... (Assuming @crashproof's $1 and @kpkpkp's $100 are in Cory's name.)